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Kobe Bryant is overrated

Disclaimer: First off, non-basketball fans can ignore this post, because this is a nerdy b-ball post and stats are coming up.

Hey, I'm Kobe. LeBron is better than me, but no one knows it yet.
Hey, I’m Kobe. LeBron is better than me, but most people don’t know it yet.

Ok, so Kobe Bryant is one of the most well-known basketball players on the planet. He’s practically god in China, and many fans, particularly Lakers fans put Kobe as one of the top 5 players of all time, and some even consider Kobe to be the greatest Laker of all time, or on par with Michael Jordan.

Edit: Looks like those guys over at Boxscore Geeks (one of my favorite bball sites) just wrote an article about how Kobe is overrated a few days after me. Good timing, heh.

Now, I’m a big LA Laker fan, but even then, I think Kobe is incredibly over-rated by the vast majority of the public (in fact he got voted in this year’s all-star game despite being injured). Why? Lets take a look at his stats and his overall resume:

Why is Kobe overrated?
from Basketball-reference.com
-Regular season: He averages 25.5 points a game, 5.3 rebounds a game and 4.8 assists a game.
-Playoffs: He averages 25.6 points a game, 5.1 rebounds a game, and 4.7 assists a game.
-His field goal percentage for his whole career is a measly .454 (45%), and his three point percentage is .335 (33%). Those are not outstanding numbers for someone who is a top 5 player.
-His first three championships are because of Shaq, period. Shaq was just so dominant, that I think an average shooting guard could have won those three championships from 2000-2002 playing with Shaq. Remember Shaq was often double or triple teamed, giving a guard better looks.
-Kobe is a ball hog, period. The years he led in scoring (2006,2007) he also not coincidentally had a high number of field goal attempts as well. His career assists average is only 4.8, which is lower than Allen Iverson’s assists average (6.2), who most people consider selfish as well.
-Kobe is consistently not clutch, despite there being a popular misconception that he is. In fact he only shot .413 (41%) from the field during the 2004 playoffs, and .405 (40%) from the field against the celtics in 2008, the years that the Lakers lost the Finals.

Comparison with Michael Jordan
So, a lot of people want to compare Kobe to Michael Jordan. Ok, lets do that:

Michael Jordan Kobe Bryant
16 seasons 18 seasons
Career stats: 30.1 ppg/6.2 rpg/5.3 apg Career stats: 25.5 ppg/5.3 rpg/4.8 apg
True FG%: .569 (56.9%) True FG%: .555 (55.5%%)
6 Championships 5 Championships
6 Finals MVPs 2 Finals MVPs
10 Scoring titles 2 Scoring titles
1 Defensive Player Of The Year 0 Defensive Player Of The Year
5 MVPs 1 MVP

…As you can see, Jordan beats Kobe at every category, despite playing less seasons. Also, Kobe’s first 3 championships was because of Shaq. Jordan’s 6 championships were all his. So, there’s no argument here. Jordan is better in every way.

Comparison with other Legends
The worst thing about Kobe is that he’s inefficient. Let’s compare him to some other legends:

Kobe Bryant Magic Johnson Oscar Robertson Lebron James Jerry West Larry Bird
Career stats 25.5/5.3/4.8 19.5/7.2/11.2 25.7/7.5/9.5 27.6/7.3/6.9 27.0/5.8/6.7 24.3/10.0/6.3
Field Goal % .555 .610 .564 .581 .550 .564

…So when we compare to other legends that are great shooters, Kobe actually has the worst field goal percentage, as well as coming up the lowest rebounds per game, and assists per game when compared to Oscar, Magic, LeBron, Bird, and Jerry West (in addition to Jordan).

Comparison with other shooting guards (who were former scoring leaders)

Kobe Bryant Michael Jordan Dwayne Wade George Gervin Jerry West Pete Maravich Allen Iverson
Career stats 25.5/5.3/4.8 30.1/6.2/5.3 24.4/5.0/6.0 26.3/5.4/2.8 27.0/5.8/6.7 24.2/4.2/5.4 26.7/3.7/6.2
Field Goal % .555 .569 .568 .564 .550 .500 .518

Comparison with forwards (who were former scoring leaders)

Kobe Bryant Rick Barry Adrian Dantley Alex English Bernard King Dominique Wilkins Tracy McGrady Lebron James Kevin Durant Carmelo Anthony
Career stats 25.5/5.3/4.8 25.6/6.7/4.9 24.3/5.7/3.0 21.5/5.5/3.6 22.5/5.8/3.3 24.8/6.7/2.5 19.6/5.6/4.4 27.5/7.2/6.9 27.4/6.9/3.5 25.2/6.5/3.1
Field Goal % .555 .525 .617 .550 .561 .536 .519 .581 .600 .547

Kobe is not that great
So when people tell me they think Kobe is the greatest player, or a top 5 player, or greatest Laker, I’m like Are you kidding me??, Kobe is the result of great marketing, and he’s a top 10 player because of his competitiveness, but definitely not a top 5 player.

And when people say he’s the greatest Laker, I mean c’mon, if Magic Johnson shot the ball more, he would score way more than Kobe, since his field goal % is a full 7% higher than Kobe’s. Not to mention, Magic lead the Lakers to 9 NBA Finals, never caused any locker-room issues, and averaged more than twice as many assists, but anyways, you get my point. I’m not even gonna mention other Laker greats Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaq, Elgin Baylor, or Wilt Chamberlain because obviously their stats would blow Kobe’s out of the water.

So in conclusion, gimme a break; Kobe’s over-rated, he’s not as good as people think he is, and he’s not a top 5 player (Jordan, Russell, Kareem, Wilt and Magic are my picks). And definitely not the greatest Laker (Magic Johnson is).